What does it mean to be Integrated?
Simply put, an Integrated Catholic Woman strives to unify God’s holy will in her life in mind, body and soul through intentional wellness practices rooted in her identity as a daughter of the King. When we live our best life in this way there’s a certain peace that comes from striving toward heaven in an integrated way. When this realization really sinks in, the Integrated Catholic Woman can then be ready for whatever God’s Will is for her… she will be equipped mind, body and soul to respond to God’s invitation to MORE!
Integrated wellness includes prayer, exercise, and appropriate nutrition. When we as women intentionally strive toward integrated wellness, we grow in virtue, strength, and dignity. We are women living out our vocations in mind, body, and soul. Truly turning our wellness into a living testimony of His Glory.
Self Care Selfless?
“Self care” this overused term should be understood as “self care is not selfish”- it’s restored to selfless when the care for our bodies is ordered - it becomes selfless because we are then present to the Holy Spirit’s promptings and then can act in His Holy Will since we are no longer turned inward on ourselves.
We cannot give away what we do not already have. We must have the cathedral- the temple of our body, mind and soul - in good repair in order to welcome and direct others to Him. 1 Peter 3:15 says “always be ready to give a reason for the hope that you have.” That’s key… because when your cathedral is in good repair your joy is even fuller and you radiate that to all those around you.
Finally, mindfulness/intentionality - this should be understood as a way of asking the Holy Spirit to guide our actions. That we act in intentional ways — ways which when practiced with consistency lead to healthy habits, strengthening in virtue and ultimately we grow in holiness. Remember what it says in scripture: Psalm 25:4 says “Make known to me your ways, Lord; teach me your paths.
A Simple Plan of Life:
A Plan of Life is something we use in cooperation with God’s grace to restore order to our life so we may strive toward true integration - where equilibrium is restored, self care is ordered, and intentionality is practiced. For many of the women I work with this can lead to integrated healing and restoration.
Let’s use a Simple Plan of Life to order our wellness and self care. Integrated and ordered self care is NOT selfish but selfless. :
1. Daily Prayer & Meditation - Intentionally set aside a time each day to pray and come before God. Start by putting your books, journals and pens in a place free from distraction (yeah, put your phone in another room!) - then schedule it! Making the intentional effort and putting it in your schedule is so important as you strive to anchor your day in prayer.
It’s in this daily practice of scripture and silence that we become aware of God’s voice in our lives and this is where we come to BELIEVE that He truly wants what’s best for us, for each of us … askHis Holy Spirit to assist us in staying in the present moment, as He leads us in saying “no” to the good so we can say “YES” to the best! So, we pray “Lord, show me and lead me to this restorative and integrative practice of Daily Meditation.”
2. Daily Nourishment of your Body - Intentional activities which will provide care and that are good for your body. Consider things like exercise, rest, recovery and good nutrition habits. For example, exercise should have purpose and intention — it should be rightly ordered. The exercise is NOT an end in itself. All of the things we consider in this realm should fit the season of life that you’re currently in. Schedule it and then as the ordered habit builds it will become integrated by God’s grace because you are cooperating with Him.
Sleep and Rest are truly the key to staying healthy — the recovery or restorative rest cycle of the body is what keeps us well and assists us in our wellness goals. If we’re struggling in the morning — I readily and often remind the women I coach that in order to fix your morning - you must fix your night. What does your pre-sleep routine look like? Making some small adjustments like powering down all your screens 30-60 minutes before bed can be a real game changer! Nothing good ever happens on Social Media after 10pm!
3. Daily Action that takes you outside of yourself. Take a moment each day and consider how you can ACT outside of yourself. Acting outside of ourselves can be things like taking a meal to a friend who is experiencing loss or sickness, calling a family member to say thanks for their love and support, or maybe making a special treat for your family today.
With order we live in the freedom of being able to do what is important and what matters instead of being driven by what is “urgent.” Then, equipping ourselves with a plan creates space for us to form habits - habits that are in action, actionable - these habits will orient our minds to God, create positive change in our bodies, honor order in our lives and lead to sustainability which ultimately helps us to come alive!
St. Irenaeus said “The Glory of God is the human person fully alive!” Here’s to living integrated!